OTTAWA—Canada and other G7 nations are denouncing what they describe as human rights violations and calling for immediate access for humanitarian aid groups in Ethiopia’s conflict−ridden Tigray region.
Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau and his counterparts from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States say in a joint statement they are extremely concerned people are starving as conditions in Ethiopia’s northernmost region worsen.
They denounce reports of mass civilian killings, sexual and gender−based violence, and the forced displacement of thousands of local residents and Eritrean refugees living there.
They say it is "essential that there is an independent, transparent and impartial investigation into the crimes reported," including holding those responsible for human rights abuses to account.
Ethiopia declared war on the region in November in battle between Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy’s national ruling party and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which had ruled the semi−autonomous region.
The conflict escalated quickly with accusations of war crimes, massacres, and rape, many of which have been difficult to confirm because of restricted access to the region by aid workers and journalists.
"We condemn the killing of civilians, sexual and gender based violence, indiscriminate shelling and the forced displacement of residents of Tigray and Eritrean refugees," the G7 foreign ministers said in the joint statement.
"All parties must exercise utmost restraint, ensure the protection of civilians and respect human rights and international law. "